Archive - February 22, 2016

Optimism Or Depression?

Optimism Or Depression?

Optimism Bias



Grounded in the rostral anterior cingulate and the amygdala comes the “optimism bias,” that is wired with an energy to keep us positively evolving.

What is interesting is that these parts of the brain are also most active in depression.

So we expect that when this capacity of these parts of the brain are checked in some way or dampened, depression results.

These parts of the brain are not the whole story of optimism, but they are a key to it.

The rostral anterior cingulate, a part of the frontal cortex, is involved with regulating emotion as is the amygdala, located in the limbic system of our basal fight/flight brain.

In other words, if we aren’t using this natural tendency of the brain toward optimism, it can be checked in such a way that the result is depression.

Consider that our natural course of evolution, of personal unfolding, has this optimism bias, and then consider that we can alter it enough to become depressed.

That’s a pretty significant change that we can create with the neuroplasticity in our brain.

If we get more accustomed to negative emotion than positive emotion, and if we forget to feel positive emotion, it is likely that we tone down or depress this bias for optimism.

We feel less positive and we expect less positive things in our life.

We learn not to use positive emotion in our lives because of any number of reasons. I call that “learned-non use of positive emotion”.

We can forget to exercise positive emotion just like we forget to use our muscles or work our bodies.

That’s why we have invented “The Emotional Gym”.

It is a way of exercising positive emotion, of keeping it moving and evolving for a life where we are able to feel strong levels of love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute